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Help for holiday food emergencies

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Help for holiday kitchen dilemmas

Having the holiday turkey fall from counter to floor is only one of the most dreaded kitchen disasters that can occur during the stressful hustle bustle of getting the holiday feast to the table. Broken (or absent) utensils, realizing you’re out of a much-needed ingredient, or a malfunctioned kitchen appliance can seem a holiday ruin, but don’t let a holiday food emergency put a damper on your festive feast. Here are our top solutions for common holiday dinner disasters.

Holiday cooking emergency

Holiday food emergency #1

Frozen turkey

Somehow you forgot to put the turkey in the refrigerator a few days before the big holiday feast and now you have a partially frozen bird which needs to be in the oven. What to do? Place the turkey in a sink or bathtub with cold water, changing the water out every 30 to 45 minutes until turkey is thawed. You may have to postpone dinner by a couple of hours; plan for some extra appetizers for hungry guests.

Holiday food emergency #2

No roasting rack

The experts at TheDailyMeal.com recommend placing a cake pan upside down in the roasting pan in place of a roasting rack (just be careful when moving the pan to the oven since the turkey can slide on a pan. No cake pan? We recommend an upside down muffin pan or, if you have extra, crisscross carrots and stalks of celery on the bottom of the pan.

Holiday food emergency #3

No rolling pin

Ack! You've made the perfect biscuit and pie dough only to realize that your rolling pin is MIA. Improvise: Use a lightly-floured wine bottle to roll out your dough. Your holiday guests will never know!

Holiday food emergency #4

No potato masher

Mashed potatoes may be the classic way to serve the holiday spuds, but if your masher is nowhere to be found, simply whip them with an electric hand mixer – you'll find it takes less arm power, giving you more energy to tend to other holiday dishes.

Holiday food emergency#5

Broken turkey baster

A tip from TheDailyMeal.com: While a baster is certainly the perfect tool to collect turkey juices for basting, a large metal spoon works quite well in a pinch. Make sure to use a spoon with the longest handle to reduce the risk of burning yourself while basting.

Holiday food emergency#6

No milk or cream

Regardless if you knocked the only carton of milk or cream off the counter or you simply underestimated your need for it, if you've got recipes that need dairy yet you don't have time to run to the store, simply swap in evaporated milk in equal quantities. This means go to the store today and buy a few extra cans of evaporated milk…and perhaps a can of ready-whipped cream for desserts since evaporated milk will not whip like heavy whipping cream.

Holiday food emergency #7

No vegetable peeler

You're in the middle of peeling the carrots and potatoes when the blade dislodges from the peeler handle. Don't despair, TheDailyMeal.com suggests pulling out a clean, never-used, single-blade razor from your bathroom to get the job done.

Holiday food emergency #8

No turkey lifters

The holiday bird is perfectly roasted and ready for carving but where did the turkey lifters go? An easy solution: Take two large heavy duty spoons or forks, insert one into each end of the bird, and lift. If you have a heavy, large bird, place the roasting pan on one chair and the serving platter on another chair so you can more easily lift the turkey and transfer it to the platter.

Holiday food dilemma #9

Lack of counter space

Never fails that as you start pulling dishes out of the refrigerator and oven, that you run out of counter space. If you need a temporary holding place, simply set a large pastry board or extra large cutting board over your sink (granted you don't have dishes piling over the top of it). Extra chairs can also be lined up along a wall to hold food; just make sure you keep the kids and pets at bay.

Holiday food dilemma #10

Drop the turkey or holiday meat on the floor

This can be one of the biggest kitchen disasters a holiday cook may face. Don't plan for it, but do plan ahead and make sure you vacuum and mop your kitchen floor before you even start cooking, so if it does happen, you can at least rest easy there won't be pet hair or your kids' cereal crumbs decorating whatever side of the meat hits the floor. Simply rinse the turkey, roast, or other meat with warm water, pat dry, and move on.

Happy holiday cooking!

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